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Ten months after his mistrial, 29-year-old Jaquan Terrell Burks sat before a new set of jurors on March 9 to face charges in the murder of Emmanuel Cruz in 2018.
Burks, now represented by defense attorney Isabel Lipman, is accused of shooting Cruz multiple times at Haven Place Go-Go strip club and bar on the 400 block of N. Haven Street on July 9, 2018. A mistrial was declared last May when a jury was unable to reach an unanimous decision.
On Thursday, the prosecutor explained to the jury that Burks went to the strip club to see his girlfriend, who was dancing that evening, and waited at the bar where Cruz was also present. The defendant and victim knew one another, the prosecutor noted, the latter being a regular customer at the strip club.
Around 1:45 a.m., the club manager started to close the bar and told everyone it was time to leave. Meanwhile, Burks’ girlfriend was trying to count her money when the defendant rushed to tell her they needed to leave.
As the club manager and Cruz were talking outside, Burks then allegedly walked up to Cruz and punched him in the face without warning. He proceeded to pull out a handgun from his shirt and shoot Cruz several times.
Video surveillance footage will show Burks’ girlfriend driving away from the scene soon after the shooting.
“[The manager] didn’t see the shooting, but he saw the aftermath of the defendant running from the scene shirtless,” the prosecutor said to the jury.
The manager is expected to testify in the trial.
“You will hear no testimony that there was any bad blood between the victim and Burks,” Lipman countered during her opening statement.
Lipman commented that the manager was under the influence of narcotics at the time of the shooting and isn’t a reliable witness. Burks’ girlfriend also changed her story with Baltimore Police after being persuaded by the prosecutor in exchange for her release.
“All the [prosecutor] and police have are lies,” Lipman concluded.
Testimony began after opening statements and is expected to continue on March 10 before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Schiffer.Follow this case